After eight internal selections, San Marino chose to have its first national final last year via the independently-run, global internet selection 1 in 360. One year later it seems like it may have been a one-season affair.
On August 28, 1 in 360 released a statement saying ‘nothing’s certain’ about whether there will be another edition of the show. The tweet was released after Eurovision fans found a promo video of the show’s re-brand, seeming to hint at an intended return.
Since we're getting a lot of messages these days as to whether there'll be another 1 in 360: We're working this from a number of angles at the moment. Everything's possible, but nothing's certain. We should knwo more in the coming weeks and will let you know. Stay tuned!
— 1in360 (@1in360talent) August 28, 2018
But the Tweet does not mention San Marino, suggesting the format may not be tied to any single country.
Indeed, it was previously rumoured that 1 in 360 would be used as a selection format for another country with names like Montenegro being floated. It’s also known that back in Lisbon, the company behind 1 in 360 invited heads of delegation to an exploratory brunch where they offered their services to any interested country. It’s unclear who continued the conversation afterwards.
The turbulent history of 1 in 360 and San Marino
The highly anticipated selection was welcomed by Eurovision fans and former NF stars last year, as it seemed to give them another, more inclusive opportunity to sing at Eurovision. It was sort of an ‘all-stars of selection shows’, but also a democratic one. Hopefuls simply had to upload a video to the 1 in 360 site for consideration.
That simple audition process came with some teething issues, as organisers underestimated the extent to which they would receive fake entries and entries submitted on behalf of other people. Among the many ‘entries’ were fake submissions on behalf of former NF star Margaret and Eurovision 2015 entrant Maria Olafs.
A total of 1,050 entries were received. Less than 1% of the entrants earned one of three wildcards to join the jury’s eight hand-picked acts.
The process was criticised for being unclear and inconsistent — the rules seemed to change every week. The most controversial wildcard of all was the fan vote in which 1 in 360 allowed people to vote for their favourite entrant and the entrant with the most votes would win the wildcard. After a ten-day fan vote, Italian Giovanni Montalbano won with a staggering and suspicious 388,712 votes. Many alleged fraud.
The wildcard selection was not the only aspect of the selection that raised eyebrows. The song selection did too! Nearly every competing song was written by Zoë Straub and her father Christof, who was one of the main organisers of the show. 1 in 360 later stripped Zoë of her jury duties to prevent a conflict of interest.
When the recorded live shows eventually took place, another controversy arose. Initially, the only way the public could vote for an act was to buy a €1 online vote for an act and/or purchase royalties of a song. The more people who bought online votes, the more important the public vote would be compared to the jury. Later, 1 in 360 scrapped the online vote and gave the same weight to the public vote as the jury vote. The public could therefore only vote by investing in royalties of their favourite song. Many people are still confused about it all.
Austrian Sara de Blue was the clear favourite to win the selection with her track “Out Of The Twilight”. It was a big shock when Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening won the show with “Who We Are”…even for songwriter Zoë Straub whose facial expressions said more than words ever could.
In a recent interview she had with us, she told Deban: “I think [Jessika and Jenifer] are great. I was part of the songwriting process for all the songs, so it wasn’t really something like that I preferred one song more than the other one… I think that when you listen to the fans, the people, you heard who was in their opinion the one who should have gone. (…) I have to be diplomatic, I can’t say anything bad now. (…) Sometimes you need a bit of timing, a bit of luck… you can’t really say that’s all about who’s the best or who should have been the best.”
The uncertain future of San Marino
With 1 in 360 not yet confirmed as a selection show for San Marino, it makes us wonder whether the microstate will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest next year. As of today, San Marino still have not officially confirmed their participation. It was assumed that the microstate would participate in Israel in 2019, when a video announcing the comeback of 1 in 360 was discovered, but the British company has no assurance whatsoever that it has the ability to produce the show for a second time for SMRTV.
Do you think that San Marino will use 1 in 360 for a second year in a row or do you think that the microstate’s Eurovision days are over? Would you like to see a return of 1 in 360 for any other country? Let us know in the comments below!
Read all our San Marino news here
Original picture: Lauren Outerson, EuroVisionary